M is for Murder

Something Wicked this way comes… to Skinner Middle School this spring. Thursday May 3rd at 7:00 pm the Skinner theater program will be performing William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, his most intense and bloody drama. Eleven of the show’s scenes are also slated to play at this year’s 28th annual DPS Shakespeare Festival at the Denver Performing Arts Center Friday May 11th. Don’t miss this incredibly dark but delightful show.

Skinner Scholar Shines as Keynote Speaker

Skinner’s own Alijah Perez, an 8th grader, was one of the Keynote Speakers at the12th Annual Academic Awards Banquet.  The event was held on April 6th and was sponsored by the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business and the Office of Diversity Affairs and Multicultural Business Association.  Over 400 were in attendance.

Alijah spoke about his positive experience at the 2011 SAFE (Summer Academic Focused Education) program and how much he was able to grasp about putting together a business plan. Alijah was asked to be one of the speakers as personnel this past summer were very impressed with him, his work ethic, his charismatic leadership, and of course, his personality.  Alijah was the only student who spoke at the event.

Alijah plans to attend University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business following high school graduation.

Twenty-five Skinner students participated in the 2011 SAFE program last summer and all deemed the experience very valuable, especially for those who want to pursue a business career.

This summer, the Neighborhood Center is again sponsoring this Junior Business Leadership Program at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder, as well as programs with different foci at three other universities.

Skinner Students Making a Difference

This Friday, April 20th is Skinner Cares Day. Everyone at Skinner Middle School believes that our students can make a difference through making positive changes in our community, so our Learning Families work throughout the year to build a community of stewardship and show Skinner cares through service learning and community service projects.

All Learning Families will engage in community service or service learning either at school or in the community on Friday, volunteering at the Denver Rescue Mission, Argyle Nursing Home and Comfort Cafe, seeing the movie, “Bully” and cleaning up graffiti in the neighborhood, among other projects.

Research also shows that students who participate in service learning 1) increase motivation, engagement and attendance in school, 2) demonstrate higher levels of personal and social responsibility, 3) treat each other kindly, help each other and care about doing their best. Students are empowered by making decisions about issues they care about. What a win-win!

One of our learning families is having a car wash to raise money for diabetes research. One of the learning family members was recently diagnosed with Type I Diabetes and the other students in his learning family wanted to help. Please come support our students by bringing your DIRTY car over to Skinner for a wash!

  • Friday, April 20th, Noon – 2:45 pm
  • Skinner rear parking lot (41st Ave & Knox Ct)
  • Any donation welcome. All proceeds donated to diabetes research

Skinner Cares Day – just another reason that Skinner is an excellent, well-rounded neighborhood school.

Introducing the Skinner Grands

A new group is forming to support the ongoing work of students and teachers at Skinner Middle School — The Grands. We are retired people who feel a connection with Skinner either because we live in the Skinner neighborhood or have grandchildren or grand-friends/relatives who attend Skinner. We want to support the work that the Skinner community has done and is doing to make this school a model neighborhood school for all children. We feel that “older” people need to be involved with children and schools and this is a way to do it. If indeed Skinner is a neighborhood school, then all segments of the community need to be involved.

The PTA has put together a list of possible volunteer projects. Projects include working with students directly and also helping with administrative tasks. We are looking into projects that fit the needs of the school and complement the skills of the Grands. We’ve already started on some projects, volunteering with the music program, the athletic program, and the office administration. Together we can figure out how to share the talents and skills of our generation with middle school children and their teachers.

Please call Marilyn or Larry Leff at 303-777-5790 to join the Grands and give us your ideas on how you would like to be involved at Skinner. You can also reach us at leff_lm@msn.com. We will continue to update you on our progress.

Beyond Effectiveness, Skinner Pursues Teacher Effectiveness

If you’ve read the newspaper recently, you inevitably came across an article that discusses the issue of teacher effectiveness. While there is a lot of debate about what teacher effectiveness means, Skinner is a shining example of what commitment to excellence in teaching looks like through its ongoing commitment to the ongoing education and professional development of its teaching staff.

Teachers meet weekly and spend 10 days a school year discussing what happens in their classrooms, learning from each other, and analyzing student work to learn what works and what skill-sets need to be addressed. In addition, Skinner has spent additional funds to bring in outside staff developers to keep teachers up-to-date with research-based best practices.

Staff developers not only assist individual academic departments with content specific development, but they also help teachers develop practices to ensure success in other content areas. This year teachers and staff developers are focusing on persuasive writing and how they can infuse writing across all subject areas taught at Skinner.

One of Skinner’s staff developers is Annie Patterson. Annie has worked at Skinner for 7 years. She has been a staff developer for 10 years and was a classroom teacher for 13 years before that. Annie works for the Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC.org), a nonprofit partnership of Colorado education and business leaders dedicated to developing the intellectual and scholarly practices of educators.

Annie is the 2012 winner of the O’Rourke Prize Recognition for Outstanding Staff Development Professionals. The O’Rourke Prize is sponsored by Learning Forward Colorado and Mrs. Anne O’Rourke and honors an exemplary staff developer in the state of Colorado. Click for more information – http://www.co-csdc.org/programs/orourke/index.htm

Annie noted that, “[t]he teachers at Skinner are incredibly reflective, dedicated to student achievement, furthering their own teaching practices, and what works the best in teaching their kids. It’s an honor to help them achieve their goals.”

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